Making homemade pastrami is a week long labour of love but the delicious results are very rewarding!
If we go by the dictionary definition Pastrami is a "strongly seasoned smoked beef”. The word origin has roots in Yiddish (pastrame), Turkish (pastırma) and Romanian (pastramǎ) – pǎstra meaning to preserve. Making pastrami was a way to preserve meat by salting it.
Pastrami is the main ingredient in Reuben sandwiches, but delicious on it’s own or sandwiched between rye bread. For this cook I've used some Robbins Island MB9 Wagyu offcuts left over from our Bundaberg BBQ Competition.
I have trimmed most of the surface fat off the brisket flat and is now ready to be cured. In total the brisket pieces come in at 3kg.
For the cure -
Combine the water, sugar and salt in a small pan and place over low heat. Stir until sugar and salt have dissolved, then allow mix to cool. Once cooled, add in curing salt and spices.
Lay brisket in a large container and cover with cure mix. The meat must be completely immersed. Cover and place in fridge for 5-6 days.
Remove brisket from cure. It will be a pale grey in color, this is normal. Discard the cure and replace with plain water. Allow brisket to soak 1-2 hours.
Remove brisket from the water and use paper towel to pat dry.
For the rub I have used Jackalope’s awesome Pastrami Rub. Season the brisket well with the rub, pushing and massaging it into the surface. The rub should be very concentrated and “crusty”. Place the rubbed brisket back into the fridge uncovered, overnight.
Fire up your smoker. At 250f, place the brisket into the smoker and smoke until an internal temperature of 165f is reached. For this cook I used a mix of Clean Heat Charcoal, Ironbark and Pecan.
At 165f, remove brisket from smoker, and tightly wrap in 2-3 layers of foil.
Place brisket back into smoker to continue cooking until it reaches 200 - 203f internal temperature.
Remove from smoker, wrap in a towel, place into an esky and rest for 2hrs.
Once rested, I placed in the fridge overnight. This is the result the next day.
Slice the Pastrami as thinly as you can. You're now ready to make a Rueben Sandwich!
What you'll need -
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ketchup
4 teaspoons horseradish
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
Fine sea salt to taste
Lightly toast your Rye Bread and preheat your oven grill.
Once toasted, place two slices of swiss cheese on top of the rye then stack your pastrami 3-4 slices high. Place another slice of swiss on top and place in the grill. Grill until cheese slightly melts then remove
Layer the Dill Pickles and Sauerkraut on top and drizzle Russian Sauce over the top
Place rye top, slice in half and enjoy!
Big thanks goes out to Two Butchers for sourcing the Brisket and to Jackalope Trading Co for the awesome and delicious Pastrami Rub